Monday, July 11, 2005

No more brown-bagging it

Trips to the Retailing Big Two (Target, Wal-Mart) here in 19 Minutesland over the weekend brought back some evil summer childhood memories. You know, one minute, you're enjoying summer vacation, making hard choices between watching the 2 pm Bugs Bunny broadcast or making a peanut butter and mustard sandwich; and the next minute, you're at People's Drug Store (buying mustard?), where you see the sign:
Back to School Savings!!
as though you really needed to buy a protractor six weeks before school started, in case you wanted to practice with it in advance of throwing it in your desk and forgetting about it for the next nine months.

Even today the reason for this depressing news, doled out well before America's students really need it boils down to a conspiracy between the school systems and the drug stores (the Educational-Apothecarial Complex) to impart one of life's hard lessons early on our young people: Life is just the time between doing things you don't want to do. (Between tetanus shots, for example.)

Now, from a school system just to the south of 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters, comes the news that one more joy of school is being stripped from students: the joy of decorating book covers. We are pleased to report that this has nothing to do with banning books, or drawings on book covers, or even banning ball-point pens. It seems that the high school in Vail, Arizona is doing away with textbooks altogether.

Instead of doodling pictures, phone numbers, graffiti, answers to tests, initials-plus-other-initials etc., on their brown paper book covers, students there will now apparently be forced to type their creative and yet juvenile musings directly into laptop computers. And even though the high-tech, screensaver version of "LK+GF" (initals typed at random to avoid potential libel issues) looks cool, it lacks the grass roots earnestness of the handwritten version with the heart around it, especially after the previous set of initials has been crossed out on an adjacent section of book cover.

So my charge to the leaders of the Vail, Arizona, school system -- don't bow to the pressure of the lap-top briefcase industry. Provide your students with what they really need -- lap-top cases made of brown paper.

1 comment:

Carol Davidson said...

Wow. I hadn't thought of the "back to school" shock until I read this, but it brought it all back. Good work! And if this comment disappears... insert idle threat here that I can't follow up on.